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Last Minute Gift Ideas

Easy, affordable suggestions for everyone on your list, and where to get them.

How did it happen that while I was thinking about all the time I had to do my holiday shopping, suddenly it was less than two weeks before Christmas? If you’re as bad a procrastinator as I am, you’re in luck. Not only are there sales to rival Black Friday’s in the weekends preceding Christmas, but I have some tips to help you sift through the interminable options and find the perfect last-minute gifts for everyone on your list.

For Mom: Forego the department stores and head to Perfume Kraze; not only does it lack the eye-watering overabundance of samples, but the prices are generally better and they carry just about every brand. Check your mother’s current collection for ideas to narrow your search. If she’s more of a foodie, check out Sur La Table for fun electrics like a frozen yogurt maker or popcorn hot air popper. 

For Dad: If your dad is like mine, he’s impossible to shop for. Spice up his old watch with stylish new straps from J. Crew. You also usually can’t go wrong at : check the bestsellers (there’s a new Stephen King historical novel out!)

For Him: Brighten up family gatherings and long trips alike with games from . Magnetic backgammon is perfect for travel, and Appletters is a compact apple-shaped Scrabble you can play on the go. 

For Her: Help your aunt or sister downsize her giant purse with a tiny technocolor magic wallet from J. Crew (great for holding all those gift cards).  The OPI Muppets Collection glitter nail polishes make great festive stocking stuffers, and are available at and Beauty Plus Salon.

For Techies: House those beloved tablets in a classic tartan iPad case from or a kitschy version from Francesca’s Collections.

For Grandma: Personalize something heartfelt at Laser Xpressions or Things Remembered. I once got my grandmother a wall clock with photos in each hour and the family name engraved in the center, and it stands over the mantle to this day.

For Grandpa: Give him something to marvel over with an innovative As Seen on TV gift. Slap Chop for the cooks, Snuggie for the bookworms, Shake Weight for the fitness buffs.

For Kids: Little girls will love the Disney Princess Animator’s Collection dolls, and perhaps their own princess dress to match, both at The Disney Store. Both boys and girls can get their video game fix from , which sells new and used games so you get the most for your money.

For Anyone Else: If you’re really stumped and wandering around with that look on your face that elicits salespeople to ask if you’re lost, keep it simple. Bath & Body Works is pretty foolproof for any woman and some men. has fun and affordable winter accessories like gloves, hats, and umbrellas that anyone can use. And when in doubt, who doesn’t like something decadent from Godiva?

For the Very Last Minute: When all else fails and time has almost run out, or if you just can’t bear the crowds, a gift card always fits. Buy them for the giftee’s favorite store, and jazz them up with an accessory: gift card with popcorn bucket and their favorite candy, Sephora gift card with cute compact, Abercrombie gift card inside a new wallet, etc.

We all know it’s the thought that counts, but if your thought at this daunting task is “PANIC,” just follow these simple suggestions for a pain-free and distinctly merry holiday season.

Sarah Peters December 20, 2011 at 07:37 PM
Love these ideas and wanted to add another one I found! http://www.givingbetter.org/giving-blog/give-giving-card-holiday-season

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